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Lecture 1

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Daniel Kofman

READINGS: Sept 5-12 - Descartes and the epistemological tradition René Descartes, Meditations, esp. I and VI. Sept. 5, 2013 1. EPISTEMOLOGY, SCEPTICISM & PHILOSOPHY 2. VARIETIES OF SCEPTICISM  Local: induction, perception, ethics, aesthetics, etc.  General: epistemic and metaphysical (leads to idealism) ex: dreaming, demons… Descartes’ Meditations  How do we distinguish what is reality in the absence of our senses?  What is reality?  What are illusions? SKEPTICS – HOW DO YOU KNOW? HOW CAN YOU BE SURE?  Skeptics of knowledge and ethics (non-cognitive)  Skeptics of aesthetics 3. DESCARTES AND CENTRALITY OF EPISTEMOLOGY Possibility of Error; knowledge of the physical world 4. KANT’S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON “Time was when metaphysics was entitled the Queen of all Sciences…”  The limits of our thoughts (legitimate speculations)  good metaphysics vs. bad metaphysics)  Critique of thought 5. DICHOTOMY OF “INSIDE” AND “OUTSIDE”  Ontological assumption  what IS  Epistemology: the analysis and understanding of knowledge as a response to skepticism. 6. NORMALITY VS. EXPLANATORY  Empirical take on beliefs -does not consider WHY people ought to believe beliefs should be justifiable  Naturalized epistemology: normative knowledge derived from empirical evidence. 7. EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL  Justification of beliefs (from internally) VS  Knowledge derived from the external 8. FOUNDATIONALISM VS. COHERENCE  Relationship between our knowledge and beliefs
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